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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 6, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm EST

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the state borders, what are now the state borders, and they were also permitted under that agreement to occupy what was called the and ceded territory which was hunting territory up to the yellowstone river and west of the bighorn mountains and south down to the north platte. so the crazy horse people and single people did not go outside of that territory, and they were doing exactly what the treaty granted them, a perpetual right to do, unless they would give up that right at some future date by the formal agreement, three quarters of the male population. and so, they were not engaged in hostile acts with the essays and thousands of indians were not killed in that period. there was very little warfare. ..
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>> they were in his territory contrary to the stipulations of the 1868 treaty, and nobody who paid normal attention to the laws of war would have said they committed a war like act that would have justified this action. some of the things the government doesn't even try to say that anymore. they just say they were going to take them out, and they did, so
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that really wasn't a question. when customer a-- custer attacks, they had no choice. the way attacks take place is soldiers come out of nowhere usually at down and shoot every living figure. you respond or you don't. it's unreasonable to expect him not to do anything under those extremely provocative circumstances. afterwaferredz, you know, -- afterwards, he didn't resist the law. he basically wanted to live in a place where there were no white people, and the place where they were, a huge territory south of yellowstone between missouri and the big horn mountains and down to north platte.
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the buffalo herds were killed until the indians were on the reservation. it didn't take long. i would say that red cloud made peace in 1868 and crazy horse didn't. he didn't sign the treaty, didn't go live on a reservation.
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>> okay, i know this is completely way off, but my grandmother is full blooded indian. >> everybody in the united states is part indian. >> no, i can prove it. there's a difference. >> i believe you. >> okay. i've been up to canada, to the hometown where my grandmother was born. >> yes. >> okay? it was between 15-20 million americans there and i buryied -- they are buried in wounded knee. when the president of the united states -- will the president of the united states ever apologize like the germans have to the jews and ect., will they ever apologize
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for the genocide of the american indian for 500 years. don't tell me it's not a genocide because i don't want to listen to that. >> i won't tell you that. [laughter] but, i don't think -- i don't think that's likely to happen, and -- >> why not? >> the circumstances are so different in each case, but not in the way you describe it. what you would like to hear said. >> 65 million buffalo -- >> that's true. they haven't apologized todd buffalo -- to the buffalo either, but they're sorry about it. [laughter] >> you don't want me to be a full blood because i would have been with crazy horse, i guarantee it. >> he had several with him in a fighting mood, did what he did --
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>> a check point with their soldiers that were 100 feet away. the israeli check point, and i told the story in this about going through the gate one day because we lived in east jerusalem. my father was in the senior dane -- senior -- jordannian sector. i was a privileged little boy then, and it was just diplomats and the occasional tourist during christmas season or something, and one day we gotten through the gate, at least the jordan part, and we were approaching the israeli check point, and suddenly i cried out to my father, dad, dad, stop the
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car, and he turned around in astonishment and looked at me and i was grappling with something on my tee shirt. it was a button that a friend in the jordan sector gave me with the image of nassir. i knew that he was wildly popular throughout the arab world and in jordan and egypt where he was president, but that he was the enemy of the israelis. i thought wearing this button was going to make the israeli soldiers angry. i was very keenly aware of the conflict, the borders, divisions, the animosity. i wrote about this about growing up in saudi arabia and lebanon and egypt, and then i talked about the fact that i had√°dc<
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>> it's something that you describe in the book, but from an adult's perspective, which i imagine was at points at odds with your child's view, but i was hoping you can describe that briefly. >> well, jerusalem in those days and particularly east jerusalem, the east sector was a very small place. it had 70,000 people maybe including the old city, and it was a small town, and my father
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who was a very young foreign service officer knew practically everyone including a very opinionuated woman named katie atonius, the lady of east jerusalem, hemmed a salon -- held a salon in her home frequently. she was a palestinian, christian background, and a widow of the great first arab historian of the 20th century who wrote a book called "the arab washingenning" to describe arab nationalism oddly enough with the rise of dinism in the early
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20th century. george died in 1942, but katie was still a fixture of jerusalem society. i had a childhood friend there. he was a neighbor boy who at the time his father was a palestinian muslim, but his mother was jewish, german immigrant from germmy in the 1930s who landed in palestine and met this palestinian who she fell in love with and danny was the product, so he had a foot in both communities so to speak. it was as i'm trying to describe it and remember it is it was a smaller place, and yet divided and we lived on no man's land on the edge of the mountain where
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there was an island of israeli control and barb wire and occasionally it wasn't uncommon at night to hear gone shots fire or an explosion if a donkey wandered into no man's land and set off a land mine. >> you say earlier in the book rather provocatively that the two bookends of your life were to show up and catastrophe or what the arab world considers the 1968 war of -- 1948 war of independence. well, first of all, they came -- both came before you were born,
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but if these are the bookends, isn't that a lopsided shelf? >> well, what i meant to imply there was that as a young boy and addless sent and even a reporter wandering in the middle east, i was keenly aware of the plight of the refugees and sympathetic to their cause, but i fell in love with susan, and, you know, i had to learn about the holocaust in a very personal way, so when i was first taken to my mother-in-law's apartment in new york, susan at one point took me aside, opened the closet door, and literally there was nothing in the closet except one packed suitcase. helma was a survivor from austria, and the lesson she
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learned from her fantastic story, and all survivors have fantastic stories, is she had to be prepared to flee once again. this was a burden that she, of course, inevitably passed down in one way or another to her daughter, and like all or many holocaust survivors, i've come to realize they try to protect their children by not telling them the horrific stories of what happened to them during the war, but nevertheless, there's an empty space there in which the child understands something terrible did happen, and so i lit rally -- literally over the years interviewed my in-laws on tape and tries to distract what actually happened to them, what they didn't tell susan, and that's -- i tell that whole story in the book at great
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length. >> the book is structured in an interesting way. the first two-thirds or so precede roughly chronologically following you through vermont lem and in the various cities you lived in in saudi arabia, lebanon, and egypt. there's a turning point where you meet susan and then relate the stories of her two parents. is there a tension, is there a tension in the book there -- i think it's fair to say that the first two-thirds of the book are grounded in a fairly thorough going critique of israel, of israeli military policy, but it seems that there is a reversal of sorts once susan comes into the picture. would you say that that's fair? >> i plead guilty.
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>> well, i don't know if you want to elaborate on that. >> well, i am marryied, and the first thing we did was to go off on a trip around the world, first starting in europe, but we land traveled all the way through the middle east. we spent a month in egypt, a month in israel, more time in jordan and damascus and turkey, iran. you know, we went all the way across through afghanistan, and part of this was me trying to show my young wife where i had grown up, and i tell that story in the book, and i tell the story of how this was in 1975-76
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we were in israel, the west bank, and we were freelancing as young journalists in our 20s and sharing a by line and sharing stories like with the science christian monitor, and at the time we interviewed an israeli official or an academic, and then go and talk to a palestinian mayor or novelist, and it seemed to us at the time that the conflict was solvable and that was right around the corner, and the two parties really were not that far apart. i take about that in the book as well. i explain, well, alas, we were wrong. it's gone on 40 years since that time. >> there's maybe a parallel trajectory in the book.
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at a number of points you write about, you write sympathetically about various visions of a binational state, and george was a factor of one, and you approvingly seem to cite various iterations, and then you seem to suggest that the only clear and workable solutions is the two-state solution. i wonder is that, is that the part of time or is it the product of a more realize -- realistic view? >> that's true. in the arab awaken, that book
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was wrote in 1948, ten years before the creation of israel, and he was trying to make the case that the palestinians could live with these new immigrants, and they could live in a binational secular state. i'm reporting that. an -- antonius was a huge part of my father's life who specializeized in the middle east. that was the vision, but it was a road not taken, and we haven't discussed that, but at the end of the book, i have this long -- well, not long, but a detailed account of an israeli who was a large influence on my views of the conflict and of what israel is going to become.
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>> cook? >> otherwise his american ail as peter. i met him on a trip to israel, and i spent a long afternoon with him in which i got his life's story. i found it an incredible story, and i was attracted to his idea, the notion of not of a binational state, but cook had a different view than others. his notion was that the whole point of establishing israel was to create a state where the remanents of european jewelry would come and anyone else who chose to come from america or else where and they would be citizens alongside the
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residents, palestinian, christian, muslim, or whatever, in what would be a hebrew republic. the state would have a national identity based on what most states sort of ground their identity and language and culture, and it would be drenched in culture, cook thought, but it would be secular, and therefore open to giving full equality to anyone who decided to reside in that 20th century secular state, so i'm try to -- i guess i'm trying to jam a circular block into a square hole or something, but i'm trying to find a way out of the conflict, and like cook, i think part of the conflict --
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one the reasons it's gone on for so long, more than six decades, is we have this unresolved identity question, and cook, i thought, had a great vision, and i think that's where actually is realm is heading -- israel is heading towards. most live along the mediterranean today and in places like tel-aviv and they are very secular and they just want their state, but unfortunately the politics as we all know has been seized on both sides by this sort of what i call the messy extremists who look at the whole issue in terms of religion, and that's, i think, very dangerous and unproductive. >> in the jewish world, many
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often flinch at talk of the binational state for fear that demographic trends would reduce the jewish population to a minority and that the rights of the jews would compromised. is that -- how do you reckon with that argument? >> well, in the ends, as you have said, i come down at the end of the book in favor of a two-state solution. i think a one-state solution now would be a disaster. it would be -- it could only happen, you know, drenched in blood and violence. there are, you know, extremes on both sides, both communities who would violently oppose such a thing, and so i think the, you know, rational and humanist thing to do is to have a two-state solution, and i tell
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stories of going back to jerusalem and looking up childhood neighborhood friend, and thari is a wonderful intellectual, trained as a philosopher in england, now the president of elkwoods university. he heard a knock on the door of his home in my old neighborhood which has now become a fulcrum symbol for the whole conflict in regard to the settlements that they are trying to build there, and he heard a knock at the door, opens the door, and there for a palestinian, the much feared but now retired head, the israeli intelligence organization, and i'm the -- he shows him a one page document
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saying sorry i have this very simple seven point peace map, and i've been talking to some of my palestinian sources, and they say that you're the only palestinian crazy enough to sign this document with me, and he had to think long and hard about it for several weeks, but he put his signature to the document and it's what should happen and what will happen involvely. it's a two-state solution with the line of 1967 being basically the border, but taking into account facts on the ground. there's provision for a one to one exchange for land to take into account and new settlements and facts on the ground, and some would be shared, some would become the capitol of the
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palestinian state. >> that wasn't one of the seven points? >> a shared jerusalem, yeah. >> really? >> it's not listed there? i'm sure it's in the -- >> oh, it is. i'm sorry. i apologize. >> jerusalem is a heart. >> it seems so simple and straightforward and i thought, well, the biggest sticking point of all -- >> jersey yes , ma'am, and there's provision for compensation of the refugees, but no provision for right of return which of course was sorry to say, made us hesitate for a moment, but in fact most of the palestinians recognize or relatives have no intention of moving back to yaffa or tell --
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tel-aviv, but the decision is important historically and the money specifies that this compensation found would be from international contributions, but also from the state of israel, and from the palestinian perspective, that's sort of important to at least have the israelis acknowledge that part of what the palestinians call and that's the hardest part of the conflict. as a historian, i see both sides have competing, opposing historical narratives, and neither can acknowledge the other, and on top of that, both sides have over the decades been drenched in the sense of victimhood. the israelis not only because of
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the groups, but six decades of conflict from their neighbors, and the palestinians from their own sense of the victimhood of being made homeless. >> you make is seem so, so imminently within reach. why -- what are the impediments? >> well, that's what i would like people to conclude. that they get to the end of the book, and you see a lot of difficult history that both sides have to grapple with, and then there's a conclusion that i think should be seen as rational and filled with common sense, and yet i'm told i am naive and i am completely guilty of that too, but, you know, the realists on this conflict have been dealing with it for decades, and have not gotten anywhere with
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step-by-step solutions. what is necessary now is something dramatic, and we need leadership and people to acknowledge. >> to be in a position of political influence, although, you know, the respected figure, and you also have the division between hammas. >> no, it's a stalemate. it looks very grim, and what i'm suggesting should happen probably won't happen tomorrow, but i'm quite confident that it will someday. now, it's true that it seems naive, but 250,000 israelis signed the initiative, citizen's initiative as it's called, and a slightly fewer number of palestinians have.
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if you go to, you know, the israelis complain they have no partners, no reasonable people to deal with, and hammas is a major problem, but the palestinians have, you know, there are reasonable people in the west bank and intellectuals are an example, but there are also poll tightses that -- politicians that would be willing to go along with this plan, and i'm also quite confident from polling data that if such a plan was put to a referendum in israel and in the palestine occupied territories, that even in gaza, you would find a majority reluctantly grinding their teeth perhaps vote for this, so that -- i think that's, that gives it hope.
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unfortunately, the leadership on both sides are, you know, they think there is no hope, and others think there's something to be gained by the status quo. >> you return to jerusalem to, i don't know if it was to find inspiration for the book, but you write about returning in recent years. how was your experience of jerusalem? your experience of jerusalem as a boy was someone who could exist or live or visit the two worlds. were they further apart or closer together than they were in the 50s when you lived there? >> well, i was rather depressed by my visit back in 2007 when i went back on a research trip for
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this book. you know, vermont lem is no longer divided as such, but if i tried to get a cab driver in west jerusalem to take me to splice in east jerusalem, they didn't want to go and vice versa, and i remember getting a palestinian cab driver in east jerusalem to get me to see an israeli friend in, i think it was a tel-aviv neighborhood, and he got lost, completely lost. it wasn't, you know, it wasn't anything complicated. he obviously had not been this much, so, it's, it was depressing, and -- >> you talked about how, benny morris, and a number of other figures whom you asked, well, do you have any contact with counterparts and basically they
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say no. >> it's very sad. i had leverage with benny -- lunch with benny morris, a historian who has written all needs books that validate important parts of the palestinian narratives, that there were expulsions and palestinians that field in the 48 war, and there are many controversial books inside israel, and benny has taken a lot of grief for them. when i asked him if he had any palestinian intellectual friends he socialized with, and to my shock he said no. he then explained that he was also quite upset he had not been invited by a palestinian academic institution to give a lecture about his work, and like
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wise, i'd ask my palestinian friends whether they had israeli friends in which they socialize with, and, you know, this one woman said -- i asked if she learned hebrew, and she said as a matter of principle, i refuse to learn hebrew, but she said that she did socialize with some israelis as long as they were -- how did she put it? not zionists. check mate again. >> your book is a rich one, and there's much in it that we haven't been able to discuss, but i wanted to open up the floor to some questions to allow the audience a chance to participate too. are there any? gentleman here towards the
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back. if you could just wait for a second. there's a microphone coming. >> you made a statement a few moments ago that as you were taking an opinion poll among the israelis and palestinians, that a great majority that even though they may grind their teeth, they would vote in favor of the proposal. how do you correlate that with the total disappearance, disintegration of the peace movement in israel and the recent elections that steam to indicate -- seem to indicate that the left has basically dissolved for whatever the reasons, but just the fact they have disappeared. >> no, you're quite right. the israeli left has imploded and peace now is psychologically
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depressed and they are still active, but -- and it's i think most of us agree this happened because of the second interfada which was so bloody and violent and brutal and indiscriminate in terms of the suicide attacks, and it changed benny morris' mind who was a great peace to a state solution man, and now benny -- >> benny wrote about this very question in a magazine where i work, and he argued that while there has been this implosion on the part of the official peace movement, the fact that a figure like ben has at least rhetorically embraced the concept of a two-state solution actually proves the success of the israeli peace movement,
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their fundamental arguments have been absorbed by the bulk of the israeli public. >> right, and yet as the gentleman points out, politically the peace now movement seems di flatted at best -- dedplaited at best. to the fact how can there be hope? well, i think most israelis are still while depressed and pessimistic about the long term, i talk to israeli academics who are in their personal lives today, most israeli are doing well, the economy is booming, the israel of tel-aviv is driven by this high-tech industry, you know, people are well educated. they are doing well in their personal lives, but when you ask them about the long term future
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and viability of the state, they, you know, they sometimes give you shocking answers about, well, i don't know or whether my grandchildren can live here because of the demographic problem, you know, i'm astonished today. today in israel among israeli citizens, 25% of all first graders come from orthodox or natural orthodox family, and many of them, of course, are living in jerusalem, but yet another 25% of all israeli citizen first graders, we're not taking about the west bank or gaza, 25% of israelis, are christian, muslim palestinians. the next generation we see is heading towards a demographic
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cliff that is very dangerous politically, so now is the time for a two-state solution and i think benny is right that even people like this see this theoretically and barack recently made a statement that's very dramatic on that speaking to the demographic issue, but again we -- everyone seems to know what should happen, but it's not happening. >> another question? >> what about -- [inaudible] >> sorry? >> what about the building? suspect that going to lead to -- isn't that going to lead to two-states where they are creating certain towns or drawing certain lines? >> a road they're building? >> connecting the palestinian communities. no?
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>> well, i don't -- there are roads being built in the west bank, but they are roads that only israelis can use that circle -- >> connect certain palestinians places where they sort of develop in talking about the two-state solution. >> oh, i think maybe you're referring to the fact people are suggesting that in a two-state solution that there should be a special highway built from gaza to the west bank? well, yes, and that it would connect the two separated territories. sure, that would -- that should probably be part of the agenda, but we're not there yet. >> they weren't talking seriously about doing this? >> not yet. >> there's a gentleman over here. >> personally, i would like to say on a personal note i was very moved by the book.
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i'm a child of holocaust survivors myself. i spent the last 20-plus years doing business mostly in the arab world, so i've been crossing through bridges where i've been on my own. i would like to talk about a theme in the book that appears several times that i call missed opportunities, and i, in particular, would like to ask if you can put your reporter's hat back on and talk about a missed opportunity that was not talked about in the book which was the clinton camp david effort, and ask if you could reflect upon that in particular because in my impression, much of what you shift as and blame on missed opportunities goes to the israeli side, and many of my arab friends think the seem is true for that particular event. >> well, i don't write about
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camp david and kabba and the clinton 2000 effort to get a peace. the book is a memoir, so it's about my childhood, and you know, it's from 1956-1978, but to answer your question, yes, the palestinians, you know, have missed opportunities too repeatedly. the roger's peace plan in 1970 is a good example, and other missed in 1980. just before clinton left office, there were further negotiations and taba i think represents, you know, the future. they were very close. they finally were beginning to get out maps and get into specifics and it just, you know, it fell apart because it was too
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close to the israeli elections, and we had sherron coming to power and again, another missed opportunity, but you're right. the book, in terms of history, is very much about a series ever roads not taken and missed opportunities in a, you know, in a tragic sense. >> down here. >> if not in your meme roar, do you personally believe the arab world doesn't want a solution becauseso many dictatorships and disperty in like egypt, lebanon is constantly having conflict and would they not want a settlement and most use israel as a whipping board an time to select own personal, national
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ways to direct their hostility towards zionists? i'm not trying to sound proisraeli, but i think intellectuals might agree with me. thank you. >> okay. yeah, actually most of the book is, you know, it starts out with jerusalem, but the book is not about the narrow conflict really. you know, i spent most of my childhood in the arab world like saudi arabia for three years in the 60s and egypt leading up to the war and beirut and i write about jordan as well, and these are all countries that are burdened with either kings or
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military dictatorships, and this -- i'm trying to struggle as a historian and also with my childhood memories of how the arab world seems to be stuck in place and can't find a road to moo dearnty -- modernity. in the 1950s and 60s of my memories, young arab men at the time, their ambition was to find a road to progress, to change their societies and bring it up to speed with 21st century secular commercial capitalism. they wanted what they saw on
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this big screen that america had. their ambitions were to be lawyers, engineers, and doctors. they saw their identity in a multiple way, not just as muslims. their great hero was in the 50s and 60s was nassir who most americans today regard if they remember him at all, they remember him as another arab dictator, but i have a full-fledged portrait of nassir of a complicated man. he was secular. loved american culture, american movies, read american magazines, and his closest enemies at home were the muslim brotherhood, and his vision which inspired the arab world in the 50s and 60s
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was to bring this region of the world, be underdeveloped region of the world into the 21st century, unit them with their common language of arabic, and all this came crumbling down in june 1967 with the defeat of the egyptians and the hue hilluation of nassir which was in the arab world, and it's a very personal thing. it's remembered today. it's still an opened wound, and with the defeat and humiliation of nassir, this opened the door first to radical marxist revolutionaries who were then defeated in the jordan war known as black september in 1970, and that opened the door eventually both defeats of such, opened the
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door to religion, to these young men most of them unemployed and semieducated. instead of being inspired by a vision of a secular arab nationalist future, they began to look back to something else in desperation really to religion, to political zionists ram, which -- to political islam which explains today. everyone knows that the muslim brotherhood would undoubtedly within the election if there were one. >> it's a grim note to be sure. [laughter] but that's all the time we have, and i want to thank you very much for this searching and wide ranging book and thank you for coming. >> thank you. [applause]

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